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Julio M. Fuentes
Born Julio M. Fuentes
February 16, 1946(1946-02-16) (age 75)
Humacao, Puerto Rico
Education Southern Illinois University (B.A.)
New York University (M.A.)
University at Buffalo Law School (J.D.)
Rutgers University–Newark (M.A.)

Julio M. Fuentes (born February 16, 1946) is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Fuentes is the first Hispanic judge to serve on the Third Circuit.

Early life and education[]

Born on February 16, 1946, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Fuentes moved with his family from Puerto Rico to New York in 1950, according to a May 16, 2000 article in the Newark Star-Ledger. Fuentes' family settled in the South Bronx area of The Bronx, New York and moved to New Jersey in 1955. Fuentes grew up in Toms River, New Jersey[1][2] and graduated from Toms River High School (now Toms River High School South) in 1964, where he played football and wrestled.[3][4]

Fuentes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971 from Southern Illinois University. His time at SIU was interrupted by a stint in the United States Army, from 1966 through 1969.[5] After completing the United States Army's Airborne, Ranger and Officer Candidate School, Fuentes served with the 8th Special Forces Group in Fort Gulick, Panama. He was honorably discharged with the rank of First Lieutenant. Fuentes also earned a Master of Arts degree in Latin American Studies from New York University in 1972. He then earned a Juris Doctor from the University at Buffalo Law School in 1975, and another Master of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Rutgers University in 1993.[6] In 2006, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, in Stillwater, Oklahoma.[7][8]

Legal career[]

Fuentes worked as lawyer in private practice from 1975 until 1981, and worked as a judge in the Newark Municipal Court from 1979 until 1987. He then served as a judge in New Jersey Superior Court in Essex County from 1987 until being confirmed to the Third Circuit in 2000.[6]

Federal judicial service[]

Fuentes' name originally had been put forth for a District Court opening by then-Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey. President Bill Clinton's staff interviewed Fuentes and instead opted to bring forth Fuentes' name as a nominee at the court of appeals level. Clinton nominated Fuentes to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit seat on March 8, 1999. The United States Senate Judiciary Committee approved Fuentes' nomination on March 2, 2000, and the full United States Senate confirmed Fuentes by a 93–0 vote on March 7, 2000. Fuentes received his commission on March 9, 2000 and was sworn in on May 15, 2000.[9] "I intend to honor this trust every day," Fuentes told a standing ovation as he was sworn in, according to a May 16, 2000 article in the Newark Star-Ledger.[citation needed] He took senior status on July 18, 2016.[6]

Personal life[]

Fuentes resides in New Jersey.[10]

See also[]


  1. "The Historical Society of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, June 2004". 
  2. "Judge Fuentes, the School of Law’s highest-ranking federal jurist, honored for his career ", University at Buffalo Law School, November 2016. Accessed November 22, 2017. "Born and reared in Puerto Rico, Justice Fuentes grew up in Toms River, N. J., where his mother, a single parent, worked as a practical nurse."
  3. Tabachnik, Sheri. "Toms River grad up for a federal judgeship", Asbury Park Press, March 4, 2000. Accessed November 22, 2017. "Back in the '60s, Julio M. Fuentes was a first-string wrestler and football player at Toms River High School."
  4. Hall of Fame: Judge Julio M. Fuentes, Toms River Regional Schools. Accessed November 22, 2017. "The Toms River Schools Hall of Fame is proud to induct Judge Julio M. Fuentes for his distinguished achievements in the field of law and, especially, for his appointment and confirmation to be a judge on the 3rd United States Circuit Court of Appeals, the second highest level of the judiciary, just one step from the Supreme Court. His record in school as a student, as a person, as a member of the Student Council, and as an athlete, lettering in both football and wrestling---all presaged a most promising future."
  5. "PUERTO RICO HERALD: Puerto Rico Born Jurist, Julio Fuentes, Sworn In As First Latino Judge On U.S. Court Of Appeals For The Third Circuit". 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Fuentes, Julio M. - Federal Judicial Center". 
  7. "Wrestling to Honor N.J. Members of National Wrestling HOF at MSU Match". 
  8. "Wrestling Hall of Fame - National Wrestling Hall of Fame". 
  9. " - Library of Congress". 
  10. Kane, Paul; and Voreacos, David. "Puerto Rico Born Jurist, Julio Fuentes, Sworn In As First Latino Judge On U.S. Court Of Appeals For The Third Circuit", The Record (Bergen County) via Puerto Rico Herald, May 14, 2000. Accessed November 22, 2017.

External links[]

  • Julio M. Fuentes at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert Cowen
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Succeeded by
Paul Matey

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